The Hyundai Ioniq 5 is being trialled as an autonomous taxi with the aim of going into driverless service with the Lyft ride-hailing app from the beginning of 2023, Tech Crunch has reported.

The autonomous driving technology is being developed by Motional, a joint venture between Aptiv and Hyundai for the commercialisation of self-driving cars, and will outfit the Ioniq 5 with the hardware and software required for Level 4 autonomous driving, and these will include lidar, radar and cameras to provide the Ioniq 5 with a 360-degree field of vision, and be able to ‘see’ up to 300 m away, according to the report.

As standard, the Ioniq 5 is the first Hyundai to receive Highway Driving Assist 2, which maintains a set distance from the vehicle ahead and maintain its own position in the centre of its lane, and can also assist in changing lanes. The active safety suite also includes AEB that detects cyclists, pedestrians and oncoming traffic, as well as traffic sign recognition, high beam assist and a driver attention warning system.

The interior of the Motional system-equipped Ioniq 5 will offer a similar amount of space as the regular model, albeit installed with hardware and features required for autonomous operation, a Motional spokesperson was quoted as saying. The autonomous driving technology provider did not reveal if the driverless-capable vehicle would retain its steering wheel, and images of the vehicle are not yet available, the report said.

Test units have already commenced trial running on both public roads as well as closed courses, and there is still months of testing and real-world data to be collected before they are to be deployed on the Lyft platform, wrote Tech Crunch, adding that the firm will only complete testing once it is confident that the autonomously operated vehicles are safer than human drivers.

The Hyundai Ioniq 5 is the second development platform for Motional autonomous system intended for use on public roads, according to the report; the first was a fleet of Level 4 autonomous-capable Chrysler Pacifica MPVs which were tested in Las Vegas.